Portraiture is alive and well! Some love the original work of a drawing while others adore having their fleeting moments captured by a master photographer. One such local photographer, who excels at her craft, is Donna Boyle (owner of Donna Boyle Photography). The other day I trapped her with chocolate and asked her a few questions….
What do you think makes a great portrait? All the technical stuff aside, I think a great portrait is created when both the subject and photographer put a great deal of time and effort into it. It’s more about the planning, connection and emotion than anything else, in my opinion.
What types of portraits do you prefer to photograph? My absolute favorite is newborn, cake smash and boudoir/glamour/beauty, whatever you’d like to call it. Newborn is all about capturing all the tiny details of that precious baby that will soon fade away, every parent wants to remember when their babies were that small (and didn’t talk back lol). Cake smash at 1 year old is just plain FUN. Every child is different, but my absolute favorite are the kids that hate getting dirty and don’t know what to do with the cake. They seem confused that after all this time of hearing “no” their parents are finally letting them do what they want, and they don’t know how to handle it. Boudoir/glamour/beauty is all about showing a woman that she really is that beautiful, inside and out. Many clients are shocked about how they look in their photos, and have a hard time believing it is really them. Knowing that I can help a woman realize this is what makes my job worthwhile.
What happens during a typical photo shoot? Each shoot is different! For women centered shoots we may or may not have hair/makeup application, depending on what the client chooses. We will talk about wardrobe, pick options together and talk girl talk. It’s a lot of fun! I will then help each client pose in flattering positions (and sometimes demonstrate myself-which is hilarious). For children we usually get started immediately, they have a very short attention span. I will plan props/backdrops ahead of time so we can quickly swap out our options and keep the process moving. Some kids take a few minutes to warm up, which is ok, I never rush them. If we need to take a few minutes to bond, we certainly do.
What’s your work process? Oh goodness, do you want me to really get into this? Most people think I push a button and can have proofs up within minutes. With custom portraiture it is so much more than that. Before each session I am usually perusing Pinterest/Facebook for inspiration. I like to add custom touches to each session if possible. All while remaining in contact with my client to get a feel for what they envision, wardrobe decisions, etc. After a session, I first back up the clients images several times in case technology decides to fail me. Depending on the session I will get a sneak peek up within a day or 2 (not for boudoir-those are kept private). Over the course of the next few weeks (usually 2-4 weeks depending on what time of year it is) I will narrow down each session to a manageable number of the absolute best images from the session (we don’t want any blinking!). Each photo is then batch edited to adjust any exposure issues if needed, cropped if necessary, and finishing touches put on. Each session doesn’t actually take me several weeks only on that session, but happens this way because of the timing of each of my other sessions being in different phases, along with social media, email, book keeping and marketing time that has to happen as a business. This allows me to devote the time necessary to each task so everyone is provided with the best possible product. After everything is edited, I upload to a password protected gallery for the client to view and make their purchase. We then go through the ordering process culminating at delivery of the product.
You have a new studio that just opened? What’s it like? It’s awesome!! My studio mate and I are located on the 2nd floor of Village Gate Square. It is such a fun, artsy building with many opportunities for backdrops within the building and even outside. The studio itself is approx. 800 sq feet with a meeting area, dressing room, prop room, office and natural light shooting room. Eventually we may make the prop room into a secondary shooing space but for now, we have a lot of props, so they need a room J We are currently working on decorating for our open house with some current and favorite work for the walls. Other than our open house on July 5th from 6-10 pm we are open by appointment only, so contact me if you would like to stop by for a session!
How far in advance should people contact you to schedule a photo shoot? A minimum 4 weeks is preferred, but not required. This allows you to be able to pick the date you want, and allows us time to discuss what you would like to do for your session and time for me to plan props and backdrops (or go shopping if needed)!